Tag Archives: China

Chinese confirm purchase of 100 Airbus Helicopters H135

A Chinese consortium of three companies has confirmed to buy a whopping 100 H135 light rotary wing from Airbus Helicopters, the European manufacturer announced on 13 June 2016.

Hereby China Aviation Supplies Holding Company, Qingdao United General Aviation Industrial Development Company and CITIC Offshore Helicopter Co. Ltd jointly become the first Chinese customer for the Chinese produced version of the type.

The hundred choppers will roll off the final assembly line in Qingdao in the Shandong province of China, after the plant wil be opened in 2018. The deal was suspected for some time, as all parties involved already signed a so-called letter of intent last year.

The H135 deal will give the Qingdao plant work for at least a decade, meaning Airbus wishes to produce at least 10 machines every year. Airbus Helicopters aims at 600 H135s and follow-up versions produced in China by 2038.

© 2016 Airheadsfly.com senior contributor Marcel Burger
Featured image: The H135 in European mountains (Image © Airbus Helicopters)

Tejas debuts in Bahrain, battles Thunder

The Indian made Tejas fighter jet is all set for its international airshow debut these days during the Bahrain International Airshow starting Thursday 21 January. The type is engaged in a fierce battle with the Pakistan-made JF-17 Thunder, albeit a virtual one thanks to the virtues of social media. Both sides have battling it out for weeks already.

Two Tejas jets arrived at Bahrain’s Sakhir airbase on 14 January and started orientation flights. The Tejas – powered by a GE F404-IN20 turbofan – was designed and produced by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) but even after decades of development and testing fails to meet Indian Air Force expectations. An improved ‘Mark 2’ version – featuring the more powerful F414 engine – will probably never see the light of day.

It’s appearance in Bahrain most likely is the result of Pakistan’s recent success in selling it’s JF-17 Thunder abroad. Nigeria is expecting three to be delivered this year and Myanmar is also a rumoured customer.  No JF-17 is scheduled to appear in Bahrain, however. Powering the Thunder is the Russian designed Klimov RD-93 engine.


Sri Lanka

More recently, a Pakistani campaign to sell JF-17 Thunders to Sri Lanka – that other neighbour to India – infuriated New Delhi. After days of confusing news, Indian media proudly reported New Delhi has prevented the deal from happening and also stated the Tejas was now on offer to Sri Lanka.

It is safe to say Sri Lanka would prefer the JF-17 Thunder, a joint undertaking by Pakistan and China that has resulted in a reasonably advanced, capable and affordable alternative to expensive Western and Russian  fighter aircraft. It could very likely sell to other customers  as well.

Any foreign sale of Tejas jets however is as unlikely as…. well, India buying the JF-17. The program is too troubled for any foreign nation to be interested in. Displaying the aircraft in Bahrain is a matter of politics and prestige, not economics.

© 2016 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest
Featured Image: The Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (Image © Hindustan Aeronautics Limited)

Kaman K-Max debut in China

The Kamax team in Bloomfield, Connecticut, must be happy. The company just secured its first ever Chinese order for its very special K-Max heavy-lift utility chopper, possibly opening up a new market.

Lectern Aviation Supplies has agreed to buy two choppers of the type, according to a press release by Kaman. They will be operated to service the China Department of Forestry, as fire-fighting rotary wing.


The K-Max K-1200 – as the full name of the type goes – uses intermeshing rotors. Despite its small size this synchropter is able to transport payloads of about 6,000 pounds (2,720 kg). The Chinese deal is part of a larger set of orders which meant that the US company could restart a low-rate serial production of the K-Max – with the first new machines going to customers – including Lectern – in 2017.

US Marines unmanned airlift helicopter

Between 1991 and 2003 Kaman also produced the K-Max. Of the 38 machines built back then, 22 or 23 are still “alive”. Even the US Marines have seen potential in the machine, with two unmanned versions of the K-Max having gone through airlift test trials in Afghanistan. The K-Max costs only about 1,200 US dollar per hour to fly, making it a very affordable asset.

© 2015 Airheadfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image: The Kaman K-1200 K-Max of Rotex Helicopter (Image (CC) André Völzke)

Top of the shelf: China buys Su-35

China has become the first foreign country to buy Russia’s Sukhoi Su-35 Flanker E, the most advanced version of the Flanker to date. Negotiations on the deal were ongoing for several years before a deal for 24 aircraft was finally signed recently. The contract is worth over 2 billion USD.

China’s weapons arsenal

The move is good news for financially strained Moscow and undesirable for Washington, which saw relations with Peking worsen recently. The Su-35s form a lethal addition to China’s already considerable weapons arsenal. The deal is one of the largest to be closed between Russia and China.

For a long time, Indonesia seemed the first likely export customer for the Su-35. An Indonesian deal doesn’t seem far away, though.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image: The Sukhoi Su-35S, Flanker-E according to NATO (Image © Sukhoi Company)

Airbus Helicopter’s assembly line to China

Airbus Helicopters and Beijing have struck a preliminary deal on the planned H135 final assembly line that is meant to produce 100 H135 helicopters over the next ten years.

The European manufacturer feels that China will be the world’s largest market for helicopters and hopes that with the envisaged opening of its own production line in the near future it will make it even more easy to sell European designed helicopters in the vast Asian country.

During the signing of the letter of intent the Airbus and its Chinese partners committed to opening up a sales office, as well as a maintenance, repair, overhaul and training capacity with the production plant in China.

The H135 is a light twin-engine helicopter that already flies in China performing mainly emergency medical services (HEMS) and police missions. Airbus thinks the Chinese civil and “parapublic” market for rotary aircraft will grow quickly.

Airbus Helicopters has delivered nearly 1,200 helicopters of the H135-family (as Eurocopter EC135; the former type name) to customers around the globe, which have logged more than 3 million flight hours. One-quarter of this total fleet is deployed for HEMS duties.

Source: Airbus Helicopters
Featured image: The future in China will be like this Airbus Helicopters H135 final assembly line in Donauwörth (Image © Charles Abarr / Airbus Helicopters)